Three key areas of vulnerability are our water supplies, infrastructure, and ecosystems. In our coastal setting, impacts from sea level rise resulting from global warming and changing weather patterns can be visualized by observing King Tide events. When King Tides coincide with a storm surge caused by strong winds, low atmospheric pressure, and other factors, coastal flooding and damage to infrastructure can be shockingly obvious.
Persistent sea level rise has been ongoing throughout the 20th century and is expected to continue at an increasing rate in the 21st century and beyond. Higher ordinary water levels serve to increase King Tide levels, the associated flooding, and related damages or total loss of our coastal facilities and services.
Local 20/20 Climate Action groups and the Jefferson Marine Resources Committee worked with the University of Washington Sea Grant Witness King Tide Program to establish monitoring sites. The sites are photographed during periods of higher predicted tides and, if possible when weather conditions further amplify water levels. Photographs are posted on the King Tide website https://www.anecdata.org/posts?project_id=62 along with photographs from other local communities.
What have we learned?
• A lot of people are interested in King Tide events
• Long-time observers can recall even more extreme events than what happened in the winter of 2016/2017
• Weather factors can elevate water levels by 2 feet above predicted levels
• The more extreme events are more likely when the effects of astronomy and weather act together
• Where to find data to predict potentially damaging events. http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/ and https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/
• General awareness of the types and location of damage that has and is likely to occur
You can get more ideas about how to prepare for climate change Appendix A: Comprehensive List of Adaptation Strategies in the Climate Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula